I placed a tentative hand on Rapunzel’s stomach. The silk of his garments did nothing to disguise the life pulsing within him. “Careful,” Rapunzel said with a grin. “He kicks.”
As if on cue, a tiny shove struck my hand, and I gasped in wonder. How beautiful it must be to feel something like this, a new life growing inside you. “Congratulations,” I said with a wide grin. “This must be such an amazing time for you. Are you sure that it’s going to be a boy?”
“Nothing’s certain,” Medwin replied, “but boy or girl will be both as welcome.”
“I can imagine. Thank you so much for sharing that with me.”
Rapunzel looked like he wanted to reply, but commotion at the doors of the ballroom stopped him from doing so. “It looks like they’re bringing in a present,” Medwin said.
“Another one?” Rapunzel rolled his eyes. “At this rate, the whole palace will be buried in them. Let’s go see what it is.”
The words were probably not directed at me, but I followed nonetheless. Hand in hand with Medwin, Rapunzel made his way to the ballroom entryway, where a group of Arthurian guards were struggling with what seemed to be a huge package.
Kirril, Dineiro, Leonard, and Briar met them all there. Dineiro was already sniffing the strange package curiously. “Well, it’s not anything edible,” he commented, rubbing his own swollen belly.
Kirril chuckled. “We have plenty of food inside if you’re hungry.”
“Yes,” Dineiro mumbled, “but it’s rude to eat while everyone else is trying to talk to you.”
The exchange amused me, but it didn’t distract me from the strange feeling I got when I looked at the package. Its height bypassed that of a regular man, even an Arthurian one, and it was easily as wide as two of them put together. Some sort of decoration, perhaps? “Who is it from?” I asked softly.
Kirril sobered and peered closer to the package. “It doesn’t say.”
I passed my fingers over the soft material covering the item, and a chill went down my spine. “It doesn’t have a magical signature either.”
“Should we open it?” Leonard asked dubiously.
Rapunzel hesitated. “I’m not sure. It feels a little strange. Don’t you think?”
Out of nowhere, Dineiro’s friend, Larue appeared. “I agree. I think I can detect magic inside.”
I agreed. Magical signature or no, the item itself easily had some sort of enchantment on it. “That settles it then,” Medwin concluded. “We’ll just put it in storage until we can make sure it’s safe to open.”
“Just stay away from it, Rapunzel,” Anelah said suddenly. “Move away, now.”
As if on cue, the cloth slid off the peculiar gift, revealing a tall mirror. Its edges were white and covered with something that looked like frost flowers. Oddly, it seemed to emanate a bright glow that made me shiver, although not in an entirely unpleasant way.
Anelah didn’t seem to agree with my assessment. “Back!” she shouted. “Get back.”
The familiar figure of the Fairy Godfather manifested by her side. I knew him to be very powerful, because he had largely been the one to keep me safe during my years spent in Arthuria. However, before he could even make a move, the mirror shattered into a million pieces. I had no idea how it happened. None of us had even touched it, and we had all backed off when Anelah had told us to.
Nevertheless, the mirror didn’t seem to react to our actions at all. It just shattered, and tiny pieces of glass flew everywhere.
It was probably an inaccurate description to make with regard to this process. Each tiny bit of crystal almost seemed to float, like they moved in defiance of the regular trajectory they should have followed. Instead of collapsing to the floor, they rushed toward all those present, tiny daggers holding a magic none of us could truly understand.
At the very last moment, Anelah threw herself in the way, protecting Rapunzel’s body with her own. The Fairy Godfather cursed, power pulsing around him as he attempted to help his sister with a counter spell. Most of those present were thrown to the ground, with me being the only exception. I just stood there, frozen, watching as the peculiar alien magic clashed with the power of the witch who’d nearly destroyed me and that of the pixie-like mage who’d kept me safe. A soundless blast echoed through the palace hallway. The power of the explosion swept past me, into the ballroom, and seemingly beyond.
Something changed in the air, and for a few moments, time stopped. My vision went white, and the next thing I knew, I was leaning against the wall, blinking away the dizziness.
What I saw next made me keep blinking, because surely, this couldn’t be real. All of my previous companions had disappeared—from the six grooms, to Anelah and the Fairy Godfather. My parents and Reluvethel Dawnhorn had also been standing right behind me, but now, they were nowhere to be seen.
In their place, though, the hallway was crawling with animals. A Morgannian deer lay fallen on the ground, with a butterfly agitatedly flying around it. A small long-haired pony nudged her pathetically with its snout, wildly flipping about its white-blond mane. Its swollen belly clearly illustrated that it was pregnant. A big frog jumped on its back, releasing several agitated “ribbits.”
A massive lion roared, jumping around in obvious confusion. It seemed to be trying to chase a bee, although I had no idea why it would want to do that. They ran out of the hallway and up the stairs, disappearing into the upper level of the palace.
To my right, two bears were growling wildly, while an eagle swept around, dodging them and finally landing next to the deer. Meanwhile, a second butterfly danced around in the air, or rather, swirled like a mad thing.
His eyes were darkened pools of aquamarine, swirling wildly as he systematically disrobed me. Well, he was quite expedient about it, because a flick of his fingers made my clothes dissipate into thin air. With the corner of my eye, I caught sight of them landing on the floor nearby, and I made a mental note to learn the useful spell. If I had things my way, I’d love to practice it on Frost.
Perhaps Frost guessed my thoughts, because he repeated the process on himself. If I’d been drawn to him when I’d seen him clothed, the sight of his nudity just about stopped my heart. It certainly stopped my breath. Any coherent thoughts I might have attempted to dwell on now focused solely on him, on exploring those rippling muscles with my hands and my tongue, on gripping his hard dick in my fist and taking it deep in my mouth, or better yet, in my body. The only thing he wore now was that pendant he always seemed to have, and the piece of jewelry really didn’t manage to hide any part of him.
Years back, when I’d worked as a servant for the Arthurian inn, I’d seen things. You couldn’t not see, as the guests at Jerryn’s establishment weren’t exactly known for their discretion. Miraculously, I’d managed to escape the attention of the occasional visitor who liked to pinch my ass, but by the end of my stay, I was very much aware of how sex between men worked.
My intellectual knowledge didn’t help me as much as I would have liked, because now that I actually had the freedom to act, I was frozen. My mind seemed scrambled and overcrowded with a million thoughts, and yet, I couldn’t get a grip of a single one. I ached to touch Frost, but I simply couldn’t decide how to do it, how to approach this without embarrassing myself, without disappointing him.
And then, Frost covered my naked body with his own and pressed his mouth to mine for the second time. My inadequacies became irrelevant, my past a distant memory. My jealousy and fear melted away into the rightness of our embrace. And beyond all that, every single nerve ending in my body awoke, sizzling with lust, with the desire for more, a craving only Frost’s touch could satisfy.
Frost’s hands weren’t icy cold anymore, not like they’d been the day of our first meeting. When his fingers trailed over my sides, they felt hot, like a blizzard turned into a volcano eruption. When his tongue reacquainted itself with my mouth, he claimed me fiercely, leaving absolutely no doubt regarding whom I belonged to. And when he rubbed against me, the friction almost drove me mad with passion.
It was all so delicious that the moment Frost broke the kiss, I began to keen in distress. Even my need for air couldn’t determine me to relinquish my hold on my lover. But Frost had bigger plans. He peppered my face with butterfly-light kisses, dropping them over my cheekbones, my eyelids, my chin, and even the tip of my nose. He traced his tongue over the shell of my ear and surprised me by biting down ever so slightly. The pain just excited me, and I arched against him, gasping his name. “Frost… Please.”
Frost grinned, a dark and dangerous expression that caused a surge of delight to rush through me. Was it foolish to throw all caution to the wind and surrender everything I was to this man? Perhaps. But in that moment, I wanted nothing more than to belong to him, to feel him inside me in every possible way.
“That’s it,” Frost whispered. “Say my name. I want to hear it on your lips. Scream it.”
He said nothing more after that, largely because his mouth was busy with adding more sensations to the already maddening cocktail. His tongue traveled down my neck, lingered slightly in the hollow of my throat, then went lower down, exploring, licking, teasing. When his hot mouth engulfed my nipple, I nearly shot off the bed. Frost held me down, keeping me in place with his larger bulk and not stopping his sensual torture even for a minute. Flick, suck, lick, bite, and repeat. It was like a recipe for “how to drive Snow crazy,” and it went directly to my already engorged prick.
Of course, Frost couldn’t have missed the throbbing of my shaft. One of Frost’s hands pinched my free nipple, while the other snaked between us, gripping my dick in a nearly merciless hold. I almost came just at the touch of his hand, but he squeezed the base of my dick just so, keeping me from climaxing. I suspected he was only half-successful, because somehow, a nigh-unbearable wave of pleasure still flowed over me, making me writhe and shudder underneath him even if I didn’t actually find my peak.
Frost released my nipple with a wet pop and chuckled. He licked down my chest, then over my abdomen, slowly, so slowly, teasing me with the promise of what I truly wanted, his mouth on my cock, taking me deep, sucking just like he had that time, on the cliffside. He was so close now, so close to my groin that I released another whimper and begged, “Please… Now.”
I’d expected him to take my dick into his mouth as a natural progression of his current exploration of my body. Perhaps that was why what he did next shocked me beyond belief. Moving so quickly I had trouble following him with my eyes, he lifted my legs and stabbed his tongue into my virgin hole.
That was something I hadn’t seen in my voyeuristic experiences in Arthuria. For a few moments, I couldn’t even process what he was doing. My mind couldn’t seem to acknowledge his actions as something he would enjoy. But even if my rational side insisted on “hell, no,” my body said “hell, yes.”